Escaping a Nazi prison train in war-torn Italy, an American (Ewart G. Morrison) and a British (John Hoy) soldier set out for the Swiss border and find themselves leading a multi-national party of refugees for the Italian underground.
November 12, 2012 Subject:
EXCELLENT WAR FILM
The print is good, except for some of the night shots in the train yard. Sound is good.
This is a very watchable film and stands up to modern standards in story, dialogue, acting, and cinematography. Basically, I agree with everything the first poster (krishna)said about this film. Spot on.
May 9, 2011 Subject:
"The Last Chance" A Very Powerful Movie of World War II
A very powerful and touching film. Very highly recommended!
May 7, 2011 Subject:
One of Schweizer's best
The NY Times said of the film, upon its 1945 release in the U.S., "On the whole, it must be acknowledged as one of the best films of World War II to date."
Reviewer:krishna kumar menon
April 25, 2011 Subject:
A Class of its Own
This is a little gem of a war film. The real value and sense of the film is its date of making and the place where it was filmed. To answer the first would be 1944 /45 just before the fall of Berlin and the place neutral Switzerland and last but not least the film maker a refugee from Nazi Germany.
The overtones of the movie are compelling and profound but needs to be viewed in aspect ot its timeof making and the situation prevailing.
The plot revolves around two POWs (one British and one American) who escape from a POW train just after Mussolini has been ousted from power in 1943 Italy and try to make it to the Swiss border first by boat(assisted by a lovely Italian girl) and after being assured that they can rejoin their ranks since an Armistice has been declared.
They are later forced to take recourse of action to once again escape as Mussolini is rescued by the Germans and Italy is once again at war with the Allies. They are then assisted by a local priest to join up with a batch of refugees (probably Jewish but we are never told of their religion, the only clue offered to the viewer is that some are not present in church, are of different nationalities, and one refugee is writing about the plight of minorities in Europe - possibly about Hitlers final solution) all of whom seek the refuge of neutral Switzerland and then possibly America.
The two POWs are joined by a British Major who has been cut off from his regiment and wants to rejoin his ranks but circumstances force him to accompany the refugees.
We are also shown some vignettes of the war atrocities by the Nazis as viewed by the two POWs when they escape in a goods train and of people being seperated and sent to concentration camps. All these atrocities are depicted subtly but leave no doubt to the viewer in the message that it conveys.
How the small group struggle to reach Switzerland braving the weather the Nazis and other odds form the rest of the movie. Interestingly the British POW is shown as the strongest member of the crowd as he after being wounded insists on the Swiss army permitting the refugees to stay if he is to accept medical attention being covered by the Geneva Convention. He succeeds in getting the refugees asylum but loses his life due to his injuries in the process.
The film is very evident in its portrayal of the futility of war and its strong anti-war ethos is subtly enveloped in the greater message about war torn Europe. The acting by non-decrepit actors is adequate and at times outstanding. The direction is good but the camera is outstanding.